Suitability appeals procedure
You may be able to request a review of a decision made by us or present a formal appeal to the Suitability of Transport Appeals Panel (STAP).
What you can appeal against
Suitability appeals will only be considered for those students who have been deemed eligible to receive travel assistance from us.
This procedure refers only to the suitability of the travel assistance offered. (Appendix 2 of the Home to educational establishment transport policy). It does not relate to eligibility for travel assistance for which there is a separate appeals procedure.
The suitability appeal process has two stages.
- stage one - a parent or carer may firstly apply for an internal, administrative review of the decision
- stage two - the parent or carer are still not satisfied following the first review, the parent or carer may request an oral appeal hearing before the Suitability of Transport Appeals Panel
Grounds for appeal
There are three main grounds for appeal, which are:
- the method of travel
- the journey length
- the transport provider
How to appeal
When submitting an appeal on the grounds of suitability, you will need to provide an explanation in your response for:
- why you consider the offered method of travel assistance to be unsuitable
- any personal and/or family circumstances you believe should be considered when the decision is reviewed
You have 15 working days from receipt of our written decision to ask for a review.
What happens next
We will review your appeal, this is normally within 21 working days of the request. The outcome of this review will be sent to you. Should this timescale not be possible, you will be kept informed.
Pending the review the child will either be transported by the offered method of travel assistance by the us or by an alternative method arranged by the parent/carer.
Following the completion of the informal review, should you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, you should make a written request for the appeal to be heard by a Suitability of Transport Appeals Panel.
If you wish to challenge the stage one decision, you have 10 working days from receipt of the decision to write to the reviewing officer requesting that your appeal be heard by a Suitability of Transport Appeals Panel.
What happens next
Once you have submitted your written request, including all relevant supporting information, the reviewing officer will send an acknowledgement letter.
Upon receipt of notification that you wish to appeal, the reviewing officer will notify the clerk to the STAP who will arrange a date for the hearing. The date will be no less than 30 working days after the date that you are notified by the clerk that arrangements are being made to hear the appeal (the ‘start date’), but will be as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter.
Within 15 working days of receiving your appeal date, you should send to the clerk the this information:
- a written statement setting out the detailed grounds for the appeal - this should clearly state why you consider the offered method of travel assistance is unsuitable
- any documents that the panel members should consider at the hearing
- if a representative is to be appointed to present the appeal at the hearing, their name and contact details
- a list of any witnesses you wish to call to give evidence at the hearing and a summary of the evidence they will present
Prior to your case being heard, a full copy of all correspondence will be forwarded to you for information.
Pending the review, the child will either be transported by the offered method of travel assistance by the us or by an alternative method arranged by the parent/carer.
How often do the appeals committee meet
They meet approximately on a monthly basis (dependent on demand) and consider each case on its individual merits.
What happens when the evidence has been heard
The panel members will consider the facts which were presented to the reviewing officer but will also consider any new facts or evidence which are submitted in accordance with the procedure. They will be supported by a legal advisor (who is independent of any legal advice previously provided). The panel will also be supported by a clerk.
Their decision will be notified to you in writing, by email where possible, within five days after the hearing.
If the appeal is upheld, they will determine the method of travel assistance to be offered, with reasons for the decision provided to you in writing. When the panel makes its decision, this could be for the same method of travel as that originally offered. This could be for the same reasons as given when the original offer was made or for different reasons.
Please be aware that between August and October, there is generally a backlog of appeals waiting to be heard and it is important that you apply for travel assistance as early in the year as possible to avoid any delays.